Iraq Business Report

Last updated at 27/01/2018

Kurds in Germany protest Turkish Syria offensive

Hundreds of Kurds took to the streets of Cologne on Saturday in protest over Turkey's offensive in northern Syria, as German officials warned against tensions between the country's huge Kurdish and Turkish communities.

The protest, which organizers expect will see up to 20,000 participants, came a week after Turkish special forces and allied Syrian rebels launched an assault targeting Kurdish militia the People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria.

"Freedom for Kurdistan" and "Shame on you, Europe!" read some of the protesters' placards in the western German city.

As the protest got underway, police put the number of demonstrators at 1,000, while an AFP journalist put the figure at several thousand.

Germany is home to some one million Kurds and three million people of Turkish origin.

Scuffles have erupted between members of the two communities since Turkey launched its "Olive Branch" campaign, with several Turkish mosques in Germany hit by acts of vandalism.

According to Cologne police chief Uwe Jacob, the "risks of conflict (at the protest) are considerable".

"Turkey has launched a war of aggression that breaches international law," Kurdish community co-leader Mehmet Tanriverdi told regional newspaper Heilbronner Stimme Saturday.

The protest was organized by NAV-DEM, a Kurdish association deemed close to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is blacklisted by Ankara and its Western allies as a terror group.

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